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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 5 

Lot 5

Lot 5
Treasury 5, no. 755 (‘Imperial Prunus’)

Transparent peacock-blue glass with surface inclusions of aventurine glass; of meiping 梅瓶 (‘prunus-blossom vase’) form with a flat lip and protruding flat foot, the foot inscribed in wheel-cut regular script, Daoguang nian zhi 道光年製 (‘Made in the Daoguang era’)
Attributable to the imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1821 – 1850
Height: 7.1 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.92/1.46 cm
Stopper: mother-of-pearl; glass collar

Jade House, Hong Kong (October 2000)
Hugh M. Moss Ltd, Hong Kong (November 2000)

Treasury 5, no. 755

Two known pieces of aventurine-splashed glass bear credible reign marks after the Jiaqing era: this one, and a vase with a Guangxu mark (Hui and Lam 2000, no. 137). Although the latter might have been made in a private workshop for the court, since the original imperial glassworks at Beijing and the branch at the Yuanming yuan had both ceased production by this time, this bottle is perhaps more likely to have been made at the imperial glassworks.

It is interesting to note the colour of the blue glass, which is of the distinctive peacock-blue that appears to have been popular in the late Qianlong period. It is the colour of Sale 5, lot 128 which has an inscribed equivalent in the Franz Collection; the inscription is the emperor’s 1793 copy of a poem by a Ming painter, so the bottle must have been made some time after 1793. The colour remained popular into the Daoguang period. It is also significant that both this and the Guangxu-marked vase have aventurine-glass of a colour slightly different colour from its eighteenth-century counterpart. The material is more integrated, of a paler tone, and with finer grain to the sparkling inclusions, suggesting that the locally-made material of the second half of the Qing dynasty was different from that which was imported or made under the Jesuits during the Qianlong period.

The form of this bottle represents another interesting feature. The meiping seems to have been far less popular at court during the nineteenth century than it was in the Qianlong period, and this is a rare example datable to the Daoguang reign. It is also intriguing on account of the radically different shape of the interior air bubble, which is quite eccentric. When Moss first saw this bottle he was concerned by the obviously freshly polished state of all its outer surfaces, but was assured by C. K. Liang of Jade House that since it was extensively worn he had ordered it repolished.


This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s.


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